The win assures that the Sounders cannot finish lower than fourth in the Western Conference, meaning they will not have to slide into the Eastern bracket if fewer than four clubs from the East finish among the eight playoff qualifiers.
However, the exact Sounders playoff seeding and opening opponent remain uncertain, pending the outcome of games next weekend.
Seattle concludes its regular season at 7:30 p.m. Saturday against FC Dallas at Qwest Field. Dallas (11-12-6) is sixth in the Western Conference but remains in the playoff hunt.
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Sigi Schmid:"Obviously it's an important win. For a first-year franchise to make the playoffs in the first year, it hasn't happened in a long time. … I'm proud of our team, and I'm proud of what we've accomplished. I still think we can play better soccer, but that's just me. I always think we can play better soccer. We showed a lot of desire, a lot of willpower, a lot of attitude at times on the field, and that's important to win games."
More Schmid:“We thought we had some chances definitely. We hit the crossbar and (Kansas City goalkeeper Kevin) Hartman came up with a couple of saves. They played very well. And they had nothing to lose so they could cheat a little bit on defense and encourage their guys to go for it. They scored a couple of good goals, and luckily for us, we had a lot of character. We stuck with it and came back and pulled out the win.”
Freddie Ljungberg:"We came back from being down, 2-1, and that's not easy; so we feel good."
K.C. coach Peter Vermes:“The players played hard tonight, so I think they did a good job of focusing on the job at hand. Despite us getting eliminated prior to our game tonight, we all know it is important to play well at the end of this season so that we can be a better team in 2010.”
Playoff tickets go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Quick report from the locker room: No champagne. But loud hip-hop music. And Joe Roth there to celebrate.
Anyone else notice how this game sort of mimicked the Sounders' whole season: fast start, a little stagger in the middle and then a winning charge at the end?
Final: Sounders win, 3-2.
76th minute: Those weak KC corner backs came back to bite them again. This time Ljungberg turned the corner ran into the box and rolled a cross to the middle where Nate Jaqua sent it (dangerously) into the top of the net. Sounders, 3-2. ... and 14 minutes from the playoffs if they can make it stand up in this wild game.
69th minute: Roger Levesque -- who came in for Montero -- heads in a ball that started as a corner from Ljungberg and then seemed to be headed down by Tyrone Marshall. 2-2.
54th minute: A sadly similar goal, this time with Tyrone Marshall whiffing on a roller through the box and Wolff runs on and sends it into the net.
51st minute: Wizards pull even as Sounders defense simply watches a ball roll through the area where it was finished from the far side. It looked like they thought it was just a poorly struck shot that Keller would clean up.
Halftime: Sounders dominating, but 1-0 of course doesn't settle anything.
Sounders just dominating the KC outside backs ... Ljungberg just seems able to get past them so regularly you have to wonder why he doesn't just run the ball into the goal.
That pitch is just nuts. This feels like indoor soccer with no walls. I wonder if they're using a Size 4 ball...
(Whoops, I see we're thinking alike DY.)
Finally, why did they give that ref a yellow shirt but no whistle?
28th minute: Sounders take 1-0 goal on a Tyrone Marshall put-back after a low Ljungberg corner into traffic in front of the goal.
Kickoff: Reminder that that game is on KONG 6/16.
Lineup: James Riley traveled but won't be starting after twisting an ankle in practice this week. Brad Evans will start in his place on the back line. Nate Jaqua moves to midfield, allowing the Freddys to handle the forward duties.
Here's Schmid's lineup: GK Keller; D Gonzalez, Hurtado, Marshall, Evans; M Zakuani, Alonso, Vagenas, Jaqua; F Montero, Ljungberg.
Pregame: I'm opening this post for discussion of tonight's Sounders game and off of its implications.
And those implications are only for the Sounders, by the way. The results of the day have eliminated the Wizards from playoff contention. How that affects the game -- if at all -- obviously remains to be seen.